Friday, 11 July 2014

Jervis Bay to Kiama. Fun meter down, up and down again.

We left Jervis Bay for Kiama this morning.  There was another strong wind warning declared for this section of coast but the wind was westerly (offshore) so it looked like a pretty good day to make some quick miles even if it might be a bit rough so we decided to head off and at least poke our heads outside the bay to see if it would work.

The trip over the bay to the heads was lovely.  Not a cloud in the sky, and a nice long broad reach with Yankee and 2 reefs in the main right out through the heads.  As we got closer to the heads, the wind picked up to about 15 knots so I put third reef in the main expecting it to strengthen again outside the bay.

We gybed to head up the coast and the wind picked up again as we expected to around 20 knots.  At this point, we were still sheltered by the headland (Beecroft Head) and I knew that when we came out from behind it, it would start to get rough so we pulled in the yankee and put out the staysail instead.  The plan was to clear the headland to see how rough it was and then make the decision to go forward or back.

Well it did get a lot rougher and the wind picked up again to about 25 knots.  There was very little swell from the south but the wind had kicked up a big sea from the west.  It was about 3 miles to the shore west of us so the wind had quite a bit of room to work (fetch) so we were seeing short period waves of about 1 to 1.5 meters which is uncomfortable to say the least.

On the other hand, we were flying, averaging well over 6 knots (touching 7 regularly) in a beam reach with triple reefed main and staysail.  The wind was plenty strong enough to keep us heeled so we were not rolling at all.

We decided to keep going.  Even though it was uncomfortable and the fun meter was heading down really fast, the boat was taking it in her stride.  You could feel her accelerate again every time we got knocked back by a wave.  I found it quite exhilarating but Terry was not enjoying it much at all.

I turned a bit towards the coast looking to get back into some shelter and we settled down for a bumpy ride.  We were getting a constant 20 knots now with prolonged gusts of 26 knots or so.   An occasional big wave slapped the side of the boat shooting spray up in the air which then blew down over the cockpit clears.

About 2 hours later, we were out of the worst of it and close enough to the coast to get some shelter.  The wind had dropped below 20 knots but was still gusting up to 20 or so occasionally.

So far, with the wind causing white caps and quite large waves everywhere, looking out for whales was a bit of a lost cause but as it had calmed down a bit, we decided to hang around for a while and watch for whales.

Stopping a boat is called "heaving to" and basically means that you set the sails so that they work against each other and set the rudder so that if the boat starts to move forward, it turns up into the wind and stops again.

So we pulled the saysail across to the wrong side of the boat, brought the tripple reefed main onto the center line and put the rudder hard over as if we were turning into the wind.   The boat sat bobbing with the bow pointing at the coast (about 60 degrees off the wind) doing about 2 knots directly up the coast.  She was still heeled over to between 5 and 10 degrees but everything had quietened down and it was actually quite peaceful.

We made a cup of tea and kept a sharp eye out for whales.  The fun meter went back up again and after a while we played eye-spy and ear-hear.  Terry stumped me with something beginning with "N".  Turned out to be "No whales" which I thought was cheating a bit but I let her score the point..  Anyway, there was nothing to be seen so we headed into Kiama.

The moorings here are different..  First you have to pick up a mooring bouy, then reverse towards the sea wall and attach stern ropes to the wall.  Venture does not do reverse very well.  She goes backwards ok but not in a straight line and steering just doesn't work at all until you are moving a lot faster than you want to go.

Terry managed to pick up the mooring after a couple of misses (my fault not hers) but the wind took us sideways up against an alloy charter boat before we could get the stern lines out (thanks fenders!).  The fun meter was heading south very fast..  Luckily we had some help on shore (thanks Trevor!) who threw us a nice long rope and pulled us in towards the sea wall where we managed to tie off.

Venture, stern-to in Kiama Harbour.
In all, an interesting day.  We've sort of decided to hang here until we get a nice calm day to move up to Port Hacking.  Calm would be nice for a change even if we have to motor but it might also mean that we will be able to see any whales that do happen by.

Location: New South Wales, Australia
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1 comment:

  1. I pretty much skipped over a lot of that cos I kept saying "what the what the?? Me no speak sailing." Hahahaha